A dark forest inhabited by wild animals encircled the holy city of Benares, India. Deep in the bowels of the forest was a beautiful hermitage inhabited by a great God-realized saint who possessed many miraculous powers. The saint allowed no one to live near him except a little pet mouse.
Many pilgrims and disciples braved the forest dangers in order to visit the great saint. No disciple ever went empty handed to the master. All who came brought offerings of fruits and flowers.
A metamorphosed mouse
Everyone who visited marveled at the great friendship between the saint and the little mouse, who was universally known as the “saint’s mouse.” Often, the visiting disciples and pilgrims would throw tidbits of food to the saint’s pet.
One day, when a group of students was visiting the great master, they suddenly saw the mouse being chased by a cat and running to the feet of the saint for protection. Using his miraculous powers, the saint stopped the cat from carrying out its intended crime, and right before the wondering gaze of his students, changed the trembling little mouse into a huge, ferocious cat.
The metamorphosed mouse thereafter went fearlessly unmolested in the company of cats. The mouse was happy, but resented it when some of the disciples would exclaim: “Oh look at the saint’s glorified mouse-cat!”
“Be thou a wild dog”
One day, when the same group of students was visiting the master, the mouse-cat, this time fiercely pursued by wild jungle dogs, came meowing at top speed to the saint for protection. The saint exclaimed: “I am tired of saving you from the vicious dogs. From now on, be thou a wild dog.”
Suddenly, to the amazement of the disciples, and bewilderment and disappointment of the wild dogs, the mouse-cat changed into a wild dog. Thereafter, the mouse-dog became friendly with the other wild dogs, playing with them and eating the same food. He did so, however, with a scornful sense of superiority.
A petrified tiger
On another occasion, when the same group of students was studying with the master, they heard a commotion. Turning around, to their utter dismay they saw a full-grown Royal Bengal Tiger chasing the mouse-dog, who was racing for shelter at the feet of the master.
By his miraculous powers, the saint petrified the tiger and exclaimed: “Mr. Mouse, I am sick of constantly protecting you from your enemies. Henceforth, you must be a tiger.”
No sooner had the saint uttered these words than the mouse-dog was transformed into a wild tiger. Relieved that the mouse-dog was protected from harm, the students laughed heartily, exclaiming: “Look at the saint’s wild tiger. He is only a glorified mouse!”
As days went by, visitors to the hermitage, upon learning that the fearsome tiger patrolling the place was none other than a mouse uplifted through the miraculous powers of the saint, made sarcastic remarks. Other students would tell newcomers who were afraid of this tiger: “Don’t be nervous. That is not a tiger. It is only a mouse glorified into a tiger by the master.”
An affront to his dignity
The mouse-tiger grew tired of hearing such words and enduring this constant affront to his dignity as a tiger. So he thought: “If I could only kill the saint, this would remove the ever-present memory of my disgrace at being his transformed mouse.”
Thinking this, the mouse-tiger sprang at the saint to kill him, to the great consternation of his disciples. Unperturbed, and instantly beholding the audacious ingratitude of his transformed pet, the saint loudly commanded: “Be thou a mouse again,” and lo, the roaring tiger was transformed into a squeaking little mouse.
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Dear friends: never forget that it is only by using your God-given will power that you have changed from a little human mouse, squeaking with failure and fear, into a brave tiger of success and power. If ever you turn against that power, you will change again from a tiger of success and power to a mortal mouse of failure.
So, never forget God when you go about your duties. No matter what duties you are performing, in the background of your mind, always hum a silent devotional song of love to your beloved Heavenly Father.
Hi, I love Paramahansa’s stories..has anyone thought about making them into a beautifully illustrated children’s book ( for the child within us all too !!!). Thanks again for making all the material so freely available. Namaste
Hi,Ilove Yogananda’s stories. A great idea to make them into a children’s book! I also love Yogananda’s subtle sense of humor.